KEY POINTS

  • Beyond Meat announced a new partnership with Chinese multinational Alibaba to begin offering Beyond Meat burgers at supermarkets in Shanghai owned by Alibaba
  • Beyond Meat previously made inroads into China thanks to partnerships with Starbucks China and Yum China making their products available at several fast food chains
  • Recent expansion efforts include a new processing plant in the Netherlands opened by meat-processing company Zandbergen

As Beyond Meat (BYND) looks to continue its expansion into China, it announced a new partnership with Chinese multinational Alibaba (BABA) to make Beyond Meat products available at grocery stores. Beyond Meat’s meatless burger patties will be available at Alibaba’s 50 Freshippo supermarkets in Shanghai, with plans to expand to an additional 48 Freshippos in Beijing and Hangzhou.

“We know that retail will be a critical part of our success in China, and we’re pleased to mark this early milestone within a few months of our market entry,” Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “Expanding into retail is the natural next step in building our market presence.”

Alibaba spoke about the partnership, hinting at plans to offer more Beyond Meat products soon.

“We have seen a growing interest in plant-based meat among our shoppers and look forward to offering more Beyond Meat products in the future,” said Freshippo head of merchandising Jiayu Zhao.

It’s the latest in Beyond Meat’s expansion efforts as it looks to offer its alternative meat products more widely available, starting in April with a partnership between Beyond Meat and Starbucks China.

At the time, Starbucks China announced partnerships with Beyond Meat — along with oat milk maker Oatly and Beyond Meat competitor Omnipork — to offer several healthier menu items. These included oat milk lattes, lasagna using Beyond Meat products, and Asian noodle salads made with Omnipork.

“Our new menu items make it easy and enjoyable to explore new lifestyles, starting from what we eat and drink,” Starbucks China president Leo Tsoi said in April.

Yum China (YUM) also began offering Beyond Meat products at several KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut locations across China around the same time as the Starbucks partnership.

Those efforts continued in June when Beyond Meat announced the opening of its new manufacturing plant in Zoeterwoude, the Netherlands. Described as a “state-of-the-art facility” owned by meat-processing company Zandbergen, Beyond Meat said the facility would make product distribution easier in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The manufacturing plant would produce Beyond Meat’s burger and sausage products using new packaging described as “lighter” and “more sustainable.” This eco-friendly packaging includes “fully recyclable trays,” along with “30% less material overall by reducing paper and plastic use.”

“This latest investment in production capacity reflects our continued commitment to serving global markets,” Ethan Brown said in a statement. “Our new facility in Enschede will not only bring production closer to the consumer, representing an investment in the markets and communities we serve, but is expected to allow us to leverage local supply chains, improving our cost structure and sustainability of operations. We are excited to take this next step in bringing the nutritional and environmental benefits of our plant-based meats to the European consumer.”

Beyond Meat "Beyond Burger" patties are one of the options for plant-based proteins, which now include chicken, shrimp and sausage alternatives Beyond Meat "Beyond Burger" patties are one of the options for plant-based proteins, which now include chicken, shrimp and sausage alternatives Photo: AFP / Angela Weiss